Launch of the Climate-Gender Impact Group

Women and girls are disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental degradation. Yet, there is a substantial gap between women’s particularly high stake in environmental conservation and their ability to act on it: while women around the world have emerged as important leaders for environmental protection, climate justice and an ecological transition, they remain significantly underrepresented in institutions forming environmental policy from community and national governance structures to international fora. Research across several international organisations has found that there is still a lack of prioritisation of gender equality in climate action through measurable goals and action, as well as lack of gender literacy and understanding.

To address these gendered disparities and promote inclusive, gender-responsive climate policy, four Geneva-based leaders and members of the International Gender Champions (IGC) network launched a new Climate-Gender Impact Group with a high-level event on 14 February 2024. The group’s co-chairs are: Elise Buckle, Co-Founder of SHE Changes Climate, Jagan Chapagain, Secretary-General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Ambassador Christian Guillermet Fernández, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva; and Ambassador Katharina Stasch, Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN and other International Organisations in Geneva.

Hosted by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the launch event featured opening remarks by Xavier Castellanos, IFRC Under Secretary General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination, followed by a keynote speech by Professor Celeste Saulo, new Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the first woman to ever hold this position. Professor Saulo drew from her personal and professional experience to emphasise the importance of gender-responsive climate action. She addressed the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on women, girls, and vulnerable communities and the various barriers they face when accessing decision-making spaces, resources and rights. Professor Saulo also highlighted women’s roles as leaders and change makers and called on leaders to amplify these voices.

The keynote speech was followed by a panel discussion with the group’s co-chairs, moderated by Marie-Claire Graf, a prominent youth activist for climate action and co-founder of the Youth Negotiators Academy. The Champions shared their motivation for creating the Impact Group, highlighting the need for renewed leadership and the importance of fostering partnerships to de-silo policies and programmes within the Geneva ecosystem. They expressed their hope to have the group actively support efforts to facilitate women’s access to rights, representation, and resources, and to recognise women’s key role in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Following a discussion with members of the audience, guests were invited to continue the discussion at an IFRC-hosted reception.

All Geneva-based Champions are invited to join the new Climate-Gender Impact Group. For more information on the group and its objectives, please click here.